IMEX launches Net Zero Strategy – 2030 target depends on collaboration

Reflections on an industry shift for events and the future of event innovation

The IMEX Group has made a significant move on its journey to net zero with the public launch of a Net Zero Strategy. This outlines IMEX’s roadmap to deliver net zero events and operate a net zero business by 2030.

Net zero roadmap – a partnership approach

IMEX’s net zero roadmap is part of its commitment to the industry-wide Net Zero Carbon Events (NZCE) initiative – and IMEX intends to reach net zero by 2030, ahead of the 2050 target set out by NZCE in line with the Paris Agreement. The Net Zero Strategy is yet another expression of IMEX’s new Vision: A thriving global events industry focused on positive change.

IMEX was an early signatory to the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge and committed to long-term reduction and mitigation of event emissions. Its strategy focuses on reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the course of producing both IMEX Frankfurt and IMEX America shows each year.

Collaboration across the supply chain is key to achieving this goal. IMEX will work closely with exhibitors and stand constructors to gradually increase the percentage of reusable and sustainable materials used in building each show. The team will also work with suppliers to gather data that provides a comprehensive emissions footprint – this baseline will then guide future reduction decisions. Data will include numerous indirect greenhouse gas impacts, including emissions from food production, as well as attendee, exhibitor, and staff travel.

IMEX America recognised again as zero waste event

Partners, MeetGreen, have worked with IMEX for over a decade to measure and report on the shows’ sustainability achievements. The Sustainable Event Report for IMEX America 2022 has just been released which makes public the show’s energy usage, F&B, materials consumption, reuse and its community impact and more.

Image: IMEX America 2022 Sustainable Event Report

Highlights include a landfill diversion rate of 92% and 191,258 kWh of renewable solar energy generated by MGM which powered activities at the venue, Mandalay Bay Convention Center. This, along with a range of recycling, composting and donation efforts resulted in IMEX America once again reaching the industry threshold for a zero-waste event.

This measurement will now be expanded as IMEX embarks on the next phase of its emissions accounting and management journey through a new partnership with events industry body isla. Using its platform TRACE, IMEX will measure and report on travel emissions for everyone attending the shows – with results available in a few months. Building on this investment, the team has recently issued an RFP in search of a suitable carbon offsetting supplier.

Image: Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, explains: “Our journey to net zero is about incremental steps. Initially we’re focussing on areas that we can fully control, such as the type of energy we use. Then we’ll expand to areas where we can have significant impact, for example waste management and the materials used in our supply chain. Finally, we will be measuring the impact of travel and when we’re able to, we’ll report on this further.

“Our ethos is always to share what we learn and never more so than now, and we’ll be using our ongoing reports to disclose progress.​ Our roadmap isn’t just about IMEX achieving net zero, but encouraging and leading others to do the same. Our Vision is to support a thriving global events industry focused on positive change. This positive change can only happen if organisations look beyond their own journey to net zero and recognise that we’re all part of a wider ecosystem that needs to work together. The expression ‘be the change you want to see in the world’ has never been more relevant,” says Carina.